Havoc Pennington posted an entry in his weblog about picking a language/architecture/platform for Linux desktop development. I found the post as a whole to be very informative. I think his observations about needing to proceed with a completely unencumbered set of tools and technology are right on:
To me the way to create something that most of the community can swallow is to stick strictly to open source, unencumbered technologies. This means there’s a level playing field; anyone can hire developers to contribute to the technologies, anyone can fork if they have to. It’s essential that our high-level language technology have no single owner with irrevocable control.
Open source creates this level playing field, and that’s why it historically works as a way for diverse companies and individuals to collaborate on software projects. Without the level playing field, everyone gets too paranoid and fragmentation or stagnation are inevitable.
Absolutely. And he goes on to describe why the decisions are tricky, why nothing currently fulfills all the criteria, and possible paths to improving the situation. Excellent post.